Monday, September 21, 2009

Hungry Ghosts

Yesterday morning we split up and went to various evangelical churches. For an excellent post on one person's observation of our church visits next a look at this.

Later on as we were walking yesterday (which by the way we walk a lot and I love it) we went by stores that had small tables placed out front with food and drink placed upon them. They are set out for "hungry ghosts" to come have a drink and some food to satisfy their spirit. These are for people who have died but lived an unfinished or incomplete life so they are called "hungry ghosts". I found this quite fascinating and disturbing at the same time. The spiritual darkness here is quite apparent. As we continued to walk around yesterday afternoon to various places we would see quite a few of these sites.

We also walked around and would see neighborhood temples. They were quite small but a place where a person could come to a altar.

We see two forms of religion here that are quite prevalent; Buddhism and Folk Religion. We will see more of this as we move around the city. Tonight we will talking to a person who will be explaining to us about some of their local beliefs.

More soon.


perrinministries said...

Hope you're having fun. We're getting more info on Freiburg. Our supporters now know and I'm going to do a fundraiser when I am in TX. See you in Oct!

Larry said...

Super news Jon. Cannot wait to hear more about when I return. See you soon.

Semaphoric said...

Larry, I've been following Ed Stetzer and his mini-blogging about his trip to Taiwan, which I assume you're part of. I appreciate what Ed has to say about pin-pointing what the missionary would deconstruct (via the Gospel) when he enters a new cultural context. But don't you think your characterization of the "spiritual darkness" in a non-Western country like Taiwan is a bit pejorative? Why is it so much easier to point out someone else's blind out (here it's the Westerner pointing out the "darkness" of the Asians) while we don't see our own spiritual darkness that is similarly blinding us from seeing the Gospel -- i.e. materialism, individualism, imperialism, etc.? What would an Asian evangelical say about us Westerners if he came and walked our streets?

Phil Nicholson said...

@Semaphoric. I think that is a good warning.

But as someone working in Taiwan for 17 years as a missionary I would say it IS spiritually dark and obviously so. I think it is not just that the blatant worship of idols and occult activity is shocking to our western eyes. These things bring real bondage and fear into people's lives and are destructive to healthy people and society. They do produce an "atmosphere" of spiritual darkness. And this is seen also in the difficulty that people have in responding to the gospel in contrast with a place like China which is more secularised.

The scriptures have a particular abhorrence of idolatry so I think there is some basis for saying this while being aware that we are still no less evil or rebellious.

Larry said...

You make a good point. One issue I am having is posting and time zones. My latest post today was something I wrote following the Hungry Ghost one and then I saw your comment. Thanks for the follow.